July 30 2011
Part: 1 | 2
“Hi, come in, just down the corridor.” I’m not sure what I was expecting – a long witch’s coat, hat and broom? – but Alla Svirinskaya is totally normal looking. “Sit down, let’s talk.”
Alla is a fifth-generation Russian energy healer, and getting an appointment with her is supremely difficult – she has a waiting list of several months, which made knocking on the door of her home in the fashionably cool side of Notting Hill all the more daunting. I was quite giddy and nervous as I heard her footsteps.
“Energy is key to our existence,” she tells me as we sit down together. “The idea of yourself as an energy being may feel strange, but it’s only when you can tap into this energy and channel it correctly that you will be able to heal yourself.”
This might sound a bit wacky to some, so here’s a recap to explain why I find myself here. My thinking on matters of health, wellbeing and beyond has always been a mixture of open-mindedness and scepticism; my approach to all things alternative, esoteric and otherworldly has been cautiously adventurous. My upbringing in Africa gave me a no-nonsense approach to illness; built and bred like oxen, we were tough and strong and fed off the land, and by that I mean that we were even fed off the floor; the morsels that fell to the ground were not wasted, and it must have worked: the GP’s visits were so infrequent, I don’t even remember his name.
What I do remember, though, is an auntie falling ill with what we now call ME, or chronic fatigue. In those days it was called “yuppie flu”, a name that made light of the condition. Doctors could not see it and could not explain it and therefore could not understand it; so, it did not exist.
I never questioned this until years later, when one of my best friends, who had one of the top jobs in fashion, who was vibrant and outgoing and sporty and beautiful, fell ill with the same condition. She lost her job and her relationship, and spent four years of her life holed up at home.
This was 10 years after my auntie’s illness, and yet the NHS was all but hopeless in its support. So all of a sudden I was hurled into a world of healers, cranio-sacral therapy, emotional release therapy in oxygen chambers, Reiki: you name it, we traversed the city and the country to find someone to help her back to health.
It was during this search that I came across Alla, the energy healer. A friend had managed to get a precious appointment with Alla, but was away and would not be back in London on time to keep it, so I took the slot instead.
Which is where we came in.
“Orthodox medicine is a science of illness and how to heal illness,” continues Alla. “It’s not about wellbeing or health. Orthodox medicine treats with tablets, injections and surgery, it treats the physical body alone and patients are lost in their own diagnosis. This is not our playing field. We deal in energy; often we can stop a physical manifestation of illness through energy healing.”
At this point many would be inclined to switch off and walk out.
But I have seen the results of Kirlian photography – the images that can capture the energy surrounding everything and which looks almost like a heat gauge. I also know instinctively when someone has good or bad energy when I meet him or her.
“Exactly,” says Alla. She is pleased that I seem to understand. “Now, you can’t see it, but your personal energy structure is very similar to the Russian matryoshka doll; your physical body is the smallest, and then each layer is woven around again and again. If there is even a small hole, you are open to disease and bad health.”
“What causes these holes?” I still feel a little foolish having this conversation.
“Well, our energy can be polluted by both our own and other people’s emotions, negative thoughts, alcohol and even food.”
“Well then, I have to tell you in advance that my energy will look like something that’s been used for shotgun target practice.”
She laughs. “Come and lie on the bed; let’s start.”
“But how do I even recognise this so-called hole in my energy, and how on earth would I go about fixing it?”
“Have you heard of meridians?” she asks.
“Yes of course, I regularly do acupuncture.”
“Well, we call the flow and the various energy points meridians, and when you go to see an acupuncturist he is working the same energy fields; however, he uses a needle and I use my hands. The aim for both of us is to open these blockages and to bring your body’s energy back into balance so that it all flows.”
At this point I’m lying on my back on her bed.
“I don’t need you to help me,” says Alla. “I don’t need you to think of anything or do anything; just close your eyes and relax. Keep your eyes closed.”
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.